Snetterton, one of my all time favourite circuits. A long technical track that, when driven right, is so rewarding. I couldn’t wait to get back out after the disappointments of Rockingham, but none the less I knew this weekend I would have to dig deeper than I have ever before as the BOP was so against us. For those wondering what BOP is well… its either a systematic way of keeping the grid full of different manufactures of race car, and used to even the cars out and provide close racing, or something for the drivers to moan about on a minute by minute basis. For us, it was the later of the two. Our car was seriously restricted, and on a power circuit like Snetterton, it really was a kick in the teeth. But still, we arrived with our heads held high and bags of confidence.
Saturday, Going into FP1 we had a set run plan, however some technical issue prevented us from keeping to that, leaving running to a minimum. FP2 struck us with some more bad luck, as the steering rack failed through a high compression corner, forcing us to retire the car from the session. Next session for us was qualifying, and both Anna and I were feeling a little unsure of the pace in the car due to the limited running we had earlier in the day. But we both strapped in and recorded our PB times, however both of us knew there was more time out there, and we just needed the seat time to find it. Now our heads were focused on the races.
Sunday. Race day! I woke up on Sunday with a spring in my step, as we had discussed our race plan the night before, and I was feeling rather refreshed about it all. After breakfast was a short 10 min warm up session, which we decided would be more useful for Anna to take part in, as she was to start the first race. Post session we decided to change the setup slightly to allow us to get more mechanical grip in the slower corners, and help us make the most of what we had performance wise. We then lined up for race 1, Anna in the pilot seat made a great start, but even from the pit wall, it was clear to see she had a problem, she wasn’t comfortable for some reason. No later than 10 seconds after I thought this, Anna came over the radio highlighting concern about the brake pedal. An issue involving brakes is never taken lightly and so she was forced to box so that the problem to be solved. This unfortunately lost us a lap in the race, and meant that my stint had become a glorified test session. However I never gave up and pushed every lap, to better understand the car and the setup, recording another PB lap time during the race. We finished without any more drama but were much further down the field than we hoped for.
Race 2 started, and with the time arriving at T minus 45 minutes there was a problem. During a set up change a part had failed and caused a huge delay to the car. The rear left suspension was in need of a rebuild, and things started to look rather bleak, but with the hustle of our engineer we managed to sort the issue as best we could and get the car out on the grid. Due to the nature of the issue it meant that the ABS in the car wasn’t working to its full potential, therefore limiting our efficiency on the brakes. never the less, I strapped in for the start of the race. I made a good clean start and and settled into my groove. Battling hard with our sister car to maintain position. However my efforts were thwarted as the faster GT3 cars came through and left me off line. Which meant I had to concede the position but I kept my head down and started to post faster and faster lap times. As the sister car drove into the pits for the driver change I opted to stay out to try and stretch the gap to them. With pure focus I managed to beat my previous PB lap time again, and got us a jump on our team mates. When I handed the car to Anna we were ahead of them. Anna put in a solid performance and brought the car home in a respectable position. The end result was not what we hoped for, but because of our BOP we really just didn’t have the pace in the car to push any further. I am still proud of what we achieved as we truly delivered the best we could with what we had. On the up, this means that our BOP will improve for Silverstone GP on the 9th and 10th of June. So now its all focus on the next round.